US stock index futures were little changed during overnight trading on Thursday, after the S&P 500 posted its best day since March on stronger-than-expected earnings.
Futures related to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 36 points. S&P 500 futures rose 0.11%, while Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.12%.
During regular trading, the S&P 500 advanced 1.71%, marking its best day since March 5. The Dow rose 1.55%, cutting a four-day losing streak. The 30-share index had its best day since July 20. The Nasdaq Composite Index is up 1.73%, its best day since May. All three averages are on track to finish the week in green.
The gains come amid a strong start to the earnings season. Eight members of the S&P 500 announced quarterly results Thursday morning, each of them beating Wall Street expectations. Among the names reported are Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, the financial heavyweights.
Edward Moya, chief market analyst at Oanda, noted that “banks painted a strong and healthy picture of the American consumer.” “Wall Street can’t turn negative on the economy after seeing reserve releases, trading revenue adjustment, mixed loan growth, and consumer willingness to take on debt,” he added.
Goldman Sachs, JB Hunt and PNC Financial are among the names that will report quarterly results on Friday.
A better-than-expected employment reading also boosted sentiment. Last week’s weekly jobless claims totaled 293,000, the Labor Department said Thursday, the first time the reading has come below 300,000 since the start of the pandemic.
Thursday’s gain came despite higher inflation readings, which some have warned could derail the economic recovery. The consumer price index jumped 0.4% in September and 5.4% year on year, according to data from the Labor Department.
“The only thing that is clear is that inflation has been consistently above expectations over the summer, and the Fed is starting to take notice,” said Charlie Ripley, chief investment analyst at Allianz Investment Management.
“High levels of inflation make it difficult for the Fed to ignore and some market participants have questioned the ‘temporary’ view on inflation… We believe that high levels of inflation are forcing the Fed to introduce an exit strategy from high levels of monetary stimulus. “.
On the economic data front, retail sales numbers will be released on Friday at 8:30 AM ET, while the University of Michigan consumer confidence reading will be released at 10 AM ET.
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